27 Jul
An Ugly War 1947

“In June 1947, a booby-trapped, Irgun tunnel leading straight into the British Headquarters at Citrus House, Tel Aviv, killed the Haganah soldier who discovered it”. 

The sophisticated fifteen-yard tunnel was discovered by a member of the Haganah who alerted the authorities just before the device exploded. The turnout for his funeral was phenomenal and an army intelligence office acknowledged that the man had prevented the deaths of those who could have been working in the building at a busier time of day. 

Confined to barracks again, unless on duty. Foot patrols had to be accompanied by armoured car support in Tel Aviv and everyone became tunnel conscious as they were given the additional duties of looking for them. A different fear shrouded the British. It was bad enough looking out for themselves and other comrades, or checking vehicles and buildings above ground. Now the threat of terrorist activity going on beneath their feet gave a resigned feeling of hopelessness, or in some cases, a belief of total defeat. There seemed to be no sense of safety, especially when clearing up the mess, after drive-by rebels shot through the flimsy walls of canvas guardrooms. 

The diary said: “18th June 1947 – in command of a TA police station, 5 soldiers were kidnapped and a mysterious parcel wrapped in newspaper was found there. We used a razor blade to remove the paper, as carefully as possible, and found a piece of iron piping that had been used to club the missing soldiers. They had disappeared and no amount of searching turned them up. Later 2 soldiers were released, but no one knew where the other 3 were. Then a packing case appeared on a side street and they were in it. Soldiers were called to assist the three who had been rescued, but on the way, a Brigadier in a local hotel came out to address the random, in-the-air firing, traditionally used to disperse traffic getting in the way of a convoy.  He later sought the Commanding Officer responsible for the hullabaloo, saying he had been disturbed. Nevertheless, having been told straight that his troops were on the way to retrieve three of their buddies, whom they thought were lying dead in the street, he reluctantly dropped the matter.” 

A diary of a Palestine Policeman 1942. Courtesy of Hagana Museum Tel-Aviv

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